neuf brisach

Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Model for the Fortress of Neuf-Brisach, c. 1703-1704, Musée des Plans-Reliefs, Direction de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, Ministère de la Culture, Paris

military architecture

The seventeenth century was a period of continuous warfare in Europe, with only four years passing without a battle. For European states, military construction was at once a heavy financial burden and a source of pride. Fortresses, naval arsenals, and other military structures demonstrated a nation's strength and provided crucial defense. Architectural models for military complexes had numerous functions: having served their purpose in the design and construction of a fortress, they would then be used by military leaders to plan defensive strategies. When several models were gathered together, they could be shown to visiting ambassadors as proof of a sovereign's military might and glory, or kept as evidence of territory gained through military campaigns. Made of painted paper, cardboard, and papier-mâché, large-scale models are more fragile than those carved in wood. Fortunately, numerous models for military fortresses have survived, providing invaluable evidence of the developments in town planning that occurred during the baroque period.

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